Friday, February 24, 2012

Raw, adjective: 1. uncooked, as articles of food: a raw carrot.

I'm so excited to be partnering with San Rafael-based non-profit Beyond Hunger for an evening of sweet vinyasa, cameraderie and conversation.

Please join us for a special donation-based benefit class Saturday evening, March 31st, from 7-9pm at Flying Yoga — open to all, no matter how much or you little you can give!

The evening will begin with a brief informal introduction to the mission and the heart of Beyond Hunger, a non-profit whose work in eating disorder recovery encourages intuitive eating, mindfulness, and listening to the body. Rachel will then guide us through a lyrical all-levels vinyasa class from 7:30-8:30, and we'll finish the evening with easy fellowship and light snacks.

Yoga teaches us beautifully powerful ways to better inhabit our bodies for the brief flash of time that we're blessed to call them ours. So come breathe space and light into every corner of your life, on and off the mat. Join in community with other folks who are interested in what it looks like to live well in a body. All studio proceeds benefit Beyond Hunger.
Beyond Hunger is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals overcome the obsession with food and weight and find a natural, loving and peaceful relationship with their food, weight, and selves. We provide support groups, workshops and education for adults and adolescents with eating disorders. Beyond Hunger uses a non-diet approach to explore body hatred and the psychological, cultural and spiritual issues underlying disorder eating.
Here's a sweet blurb on Beyond Hunger's philosophy. They do such important work. I am so excited to send a little collective support their way.

Bring a friend or six! See you on the 31st.

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture: raw cotton.

Sneak peek of the new OMpower Cycling & Yoga space with my little bro, who's in town for the weekend. Heady construction progress! Wait'll you see the beautiful new bamboo studio floor.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Raw, idiom: 14. in the raw, a. in the natural, uncultivated, or unrefined state: nature in the raw.

So, are you spending the weekend with me, a bunch of other stretchy folks, and some starlit skies at Sierra Hot Springs, or what? Sign up soon — only a few doubles and dorm rooms remain. Can't think of any better way to spend Earth Day than with you and a few thousand wildflowers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture: raw cotton.

Just sit. No, really. Just sit. And listen.
"Just sitting means sitting still with all of the aspects of ourselves that we came to Buddhist practice in order to avoid or change — our restlessness, our anxiety, our fear, our anger, our wandering minds. Our practice is to just watch, to just feel. We watch our minds. Minds think. There’s no problem with that; minds just do what they do. Ordinarily we get caught up in the content of our thoughts, but when we just sit, we observe ourselves just thinking. Our body’s most basic activity is breathing: No matter what else is going on, we are breathing. We sit and breathe, and we feel the sensation of our breath in our bodies. Often there is tension or even pain somewhere in our bodies as well. We sit and feel that too and keep breathing. Whatever thoughts come, come. Whatever feelings come, come. We are not sitting there to fight off our thoughts or try to make ourselves stop thinking.

When we sit, we realize how unwilling we are to leave anything about ourselves alone. We turn our lives into one endless self-improvement project. All too often what we call meditation or spirituality is simply incorporated into our obsession with self-criticism and self-improvement. I’ve encountered many students who have attempted to use meditation to perform a spiritual lobotomy on themselves — trying to excise, once and for all, their anger, their fear, their sexuality. We have to sit with our resistance to feeling whole, to feeling all those painful and messy parts of ourselves.

Just sitting means just that. That 'just' endlessly goes against the grain of our need to fix, transform, and improve ourselves. The paradox of our practice is that the most effective way of transformation is to leave ourselves alone. The more we let everything be just what it is, the more we relax into an open, attentive awareness of one moment after another. Just sitting leaves everything just as it is."
— Zen teacher Barry Magid, "Five Practices To Change Your Mind"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Raw, adjective: 8. brutally harsh or unfair: a raw deal

I usually try to spend Monday evenings dripping sweat and bellowing chants at Urban Flow, but last night I'd promised to sub for a colleague of mine in Oakland. Coming on sunset, I'd been running errands in preparation for my brother's visit later this week, and had lost track of time a bit in the dwindling evening light hanging over Polk Street. For a few lazy minutes, cup of coffee in hand, I got lost in the wandering.

But when the clock showed 6:30 and I was still yet at home, due to be in Oakland in under an hour, I realized I needed to hustle. Too late to catch the cable car, and not desperate enough to flag a cab, I pulled on my tall black boots, the ones that power me up and down these unrelenting SF hills, threw some dinner in my messenger bag, and ran out the door.

Checked the clock.

18 minutes til the 6:58 train at Civic Center. I could get there, if I moved quickly enough.

I hustled down Hyde Street, popping my head in at the Grille to say a breathless hello to Fabio, and hauled down the hill.

Hyde, en route to Market, cuts straight through the Tenderloin, also known as San Francisco's most blighted 'hood. The Loin is a bizarro bleak stretch of drugs and crime and shootings planted smack in the middle of this over-educated, gentrifying, often-elitist techie city. It sits right next to City Hall and Hastings Law School and the Asian Art Museum and all kinds of wealth to the west; it rests at the base of Nob Hill, bastion of old money since even before the 1906 earthquake; and it bleeds right into the Union Square theater district on the east, frightening tourists here and there who make an inadvertent wrong turn and find themselves stranded in unfamiliar terrain.

I dig the Tenderloin. It feels real. It feels honest. It feels non-avoidant, urban, raw. I've lived on the cusp of it, in the area locals call the Tendernob, for some eight and a half years now. It's the kind of peripheral, diverse, marginal space that can't claim wealth or stereotype or racial profile, and it's full of eclectic restaurants and charming shops and old-school laundromats and the like. But, yes, there've certainly been times when prostitutes have stood underneath my windows, or when I awoke at 3 a.m. to find police lights flashing and a body splayed on the street below. So I hesitate to walk much further south into the Tenderloin if it's late at night.

But this, this was early; 6:45, kids, just fine, just barely dark, and maybe it's that I was late or maybe it was the caffeine, but I was feeling ballsy and fearless, so I powered down that hill, past Pine, past Bush, past Sutter, past Post, deep into the land of mini-marts and desolate check-cashing storefronts and lurkers on every corner.

You learn a few things walking in the city. Don't pull out your smart phone to check the time. Don't stop moving. Don't make eye contact. Don't acknowledge skeevy types who harass you. Just keep going. Walk with purpose. And you'll be fine.

But it was dark and I was a lone chick wearing a miniskirt and I felt vulnerable, there, in that moment, my progress halted by a red light and too much traffic to jaywalk without dying. A creepy dude came up and loomed over me, mumbling under his breath. And so, standing on the corner waiting for the light to change at O'Farrell Street, I started singing.

I often fall back on this tactic. Part of the beauty of living in a city full of transients and characters is that a girl can wander down the street belting out jazz standards and nobody looks twice. When I'm feeling vulnerable, say on an evening like last night, smack in the middle of the Tenderloin, I just bust out a chant here or there, and let the rhythm match my stride, and not only does that song meter my breath and slow my wondering mind, but it also generally scares the shit out of passerby enough that they assume I'm a little crazy myself, and hence leave me alone.

Or so I figure.

It's worked okay thus far.

So yesterday was Maha Shivaratri, the Hindu festival known as the Night of Shiva. The Wall Street Journal (er, how's that for a different perspective?) described it as such:
Monday, Feb. 20, is a public holiday in India for Maha Shivaratri. This Hindu festival is celebrated by Shiva devotees as the day of Lord Shiva’s marriage to Parvati. It is also believed that on the night of Shivaratri, Lord Shiva performed the "Tandava,” a cosmic dance of creation, destruction and preservation.

On this day, Hindu devotees visit temples and offer prayers with much fervor and celebrations, after a day of fasting. Holy men and devotees also rush to major Shiva temples. Women also offer prayers to Parvati to ask for marital bliss.

Ok, then. Given the holiday, naturally there was a lot of talk of Shiva in my yogi circles yesterday. And so I found myself, there on the corner of Ellis and Hyde, turning intuitively to a default Shivaic chant, running Om Namah Shivaya over and over in my mind.

There are a number of translations for this sacred mantra, but I particularly love this one: "Om and salutations to that which I am capable of becoming." These three words, sung together, speak of bowing low to the Self — not the individual self, not the me, the my, the ego, but the big Self, the capital S Self, the Self that means you and me and everyone in between, the Self that is created only and ever in relationship, the Self that reminds us we are ever interconnected, that your suffering is mine and my joy is yours and nothing we do in this life is ever created or destroyed in a vacuum.

We speak of Shiva and in so doing we lift up the cosmic dance, the metaphorical Nataraj, that is the perpetual process of creation, preservation and destruction. We holler out to Shiva and we offer faith in our ability to find a spark of divinity in even the darkest moments of our lives. We sing out Om Namah Shivaya and we say: hell yeah, there is holiness in the horror, there is beauty in the breakdown, there is perfection in the pain.

So last night, barreling down Hyde Street pretending not to feel vulnerable, I sang out Om Namah Shivaya, over and over and over again, crossing the street, passing the guys pushing shopping carts on Eddy, noticing the bars and the grates and the blight and the sorrow and, in a moment of clarity, realizing to myself there, in that dark hour: my god, Rach — here's the Shiva, here's the beauty, here's the divinity, right here, in that dude sleeping on the street next to the fire hydrant with his swollen feet sticking out from under a ratty blanket.

It's easy to get lost in yoga-speak platitudes about Shiva. It's tempting to reduce all difficulty in our lives to that obnoxious, naive sentiment that "everything's exactly as it should be!" We've all had moments of struggle wherein some well-meaning person tossed that gem out and we wanted to punch them in the face right then and there, eh, and say, "Listen, buddy, if you tell me once more that it's 'perfect' and 'beautiful' that my shit's falling apart, and I just lost my job, and my friend with no health insurance has cancer, and her car just got broken into, too, and the country's about to be taken over by crazies who don't believe in birth control, well, you can shove your perfection, because I don't want any of that shit."

(Ok, maybe it's just me who's felt that way. But I know there are other folks out there, too, who can't bear the glossed-over platitudes that we lay theologians can sometimes slip into when we're trying to make sense of Shiva and destruction and loss.)

I realized then, there, rhythmically hollering out Om Namah Shivaya to match my steps, that those few blocks, those thousands of people, that site of so much struggle and chaos and uncertainty and crime and destruction, this refuge to which folks with unraveling lives turn in the midst of the wealth and oblivion that characterizes so much of the rest of this rich city, well, they were the cosmic dance, writ large, and they more than anyone deserved to be sung a sweet Shivaic lullaby, a song of hope in the midst of struggle, a mantra of faith in the potential for dissolution and disappointment to be fertile soil for future creation, eventual joy.

I realized, then, there, that it was very likely many of the folks I passed on the street last night had not been sung to lovingly in a very long time — if ever — and so, it was even more important to sing out, walking by, serenading strangers, repeating Om Namah Shivaya over and over, whether they knew what it meant or not, rippling out that certainty, that celebration, that affirmation, of their divinity, in a moment, a circumstance, a place, that on the surface appears so far from holy.

Part of what I love so much about the city is that the sacred and the profane are continually butting up against one another. There is no removing the holy from the unholy. There is no artificial sanctuary to protect from the blight. There is only interconnection, relation, this reminder that the only fallacy lies in believing that we are ever separate. My relatively privileged life is juxtaposed continually with that of the alcoholic vet on the street who hasn't taken a hot shower or eaten greens or slept in a bed in months. And I cannot turn a blind eye to the reminder that my life is inextricably interwoven with his. And so, we bow in humble gratitude to all that is profane, loving it for its profanity, remembering that that profanity is the very root, the foundation, the ground, of all that is holy, indeed.

Om Namah Shivaya to that.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.

Mardi Gras is tomorrow, and you know what that means: Lent is just around the corner.

Growing up a preacher's kid, Lent meant business. Lent meant paying attention. Lent meant Pops was at church for a more reflective, inward-driven Taizé service on Wednesday evenings. And it usually meant trying to take on some sort of conscious discipline — maybe, say, giving up sweets or forgoing hitting the snooze button or resisting some other usual daily indulgence.

I was always good — often boringly good — at self-discipline, and so as a kid, the same part of me that now adores the tapasic aspects of asana practice — the heat, the challenge, the intensity — loved the struggle and the effort and the consciousness of 40 days of reflection. I always knew that at the end of those 40 days, anyway, awaited an Easter Sunday full of rich chocolates and sunshine and tulips and spring just around the bend.

But Lent? Lent meant dark. Lent meant February, meant winter on the Plains, meant cold and bitter and yin and quiet. And I dug it. (Still do.)

This in mind, given that Ash Wednesday, the kick-off to Lent, is just two days away, when my sweet friend Simone suggested that we do this Chopra Center Meditation Challenge together, I knew the timing was perfect. I've been wanting to get more committed to my seated meditation practice, and while I long ago lost interest in self-punitive, restrictive-style discipline (life's too short to give up vodka and chocolate, baby!), I still do love the idea of setting a mindful tone for the Lenten season with a new practice.

Social behavioral experts note that any new habit takes about 21 days to really set in, to become a natural, intuitive, long-term lifestyle change. So the Chopra Center Meditation Challenge takes that into consideration, crafting this easy guided 21-day meditation practice by landing a new guided practice in your inbox every day. Shazaaam. Done. Nothing you need to do, nowhere you need to be. Just sit down in front of your computer for a few chosen minutes every day and watch your world slow down.

Join us, won't you? The challenge officially starts today, Monday February 20th, so there's no better time to jump right in. Doing it collectively adds that little bit of juice to make sticking with your practice just that much easier. And for fast-moving folks like me who struggle a bit to sit still in the midst of everyday going and doing, it's a great way to, little by little, lay down the grooves for a new habit.

See you on the cushion. I'll be the fidgety one in the corner.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions

"I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wandering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty beats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them, under the wind-rent clouds, upstream and down. Simone Weil says simply, 'Let us love the country of here below. It is real; it offers resistance to love."

— Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.

“If you keep your armpits open, you won’t get depressed.”

— B.K.S. Iyengar

(So simple, so true. Right?)

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture: raw cotton.

Valentine sweetness in the mailbox
from my girl Larissa.

Love the shameless silver pumps and feathered antennae headpiece. Follow Your Bliss, indeed. This chick can roll. Talk about an inspiration.

(And check out that open heart.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Raw, adjective: 5. crude in quality or character; not tempered or refined by art or taste: raw humor.

Love me a good laugh, especially on a day that can often be laden with expectations.

Join me in celebrating LURVE tonight with the hottest date in the Bay: a roomful of sweaty yogis cracking it open at flyingYoga.

745, lovers: your alternative to unfortunate drunk texting.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

"I am thinking about love and St. Valentine's Day and how silly it really is to take a day to think about love because actually we are swimming in it all the time and not ever knowing it. You don't need a day for that. You don't need commercialized shit with corn syrup and red cellophane wrapping. I am thinking about love. I am thinking about not posting this. I am thinking I'll do it anyway. I am thinking that hearts are made for breaking, and the broken heart is the luckiest of all."

A blurb from one of my favorite blogs ever.
A year later. Still thinking.

Raw, noun: 13. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.

Yesterday's heart opener workshop at Glow was just right. I feel like my Valentine's Day has already come and gone. My heart agrees.

Whipped up this wee creation late Saturday night, frosted it with tulip and waxflower explosions, and paired it with Farrah's most delish raspberry coulis yesterday afternoon, post-asana. Ate the frosting for breakfast this morning. Excellent.

The recipe is here if you fancy a project.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

I rejoice that I have a heart
big enough to break over
and over again.

— Amy Weintraub

Raw, noun: 13. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.

I don't like to throw the word "goddess" around, but my friend and colleague Katie Silcox is as close as it gets. She just wrote this stellar new blog for Yoga Journal. I was blushingly touched to find that my bundt cakes made a surprise appearance. Love. (You rock, Katie!)

Here's a blurb.

Four Tips on Getting More Yogi Love:
1. The power of loving what already is. Take pause to appreciate what surrounds you in the moment. Gain pleasure from what already is, without grasping for what could be. Ask yourself, “What is it about this moment (or this room, person, place) that is absolutely worthy of my love and appreciation? Feel that love fill you up as you express contentment with exactly what you already have.

2. The power of loving touch. Yoga teaches us how to soften ourselves enough to be touched by life. On a physical level, any kind of appropriate touching has been shown to increase oxytocin and reduce stress hormones in the body. Whether it be a gentle massage, a warm hug, or the intimate touch of a lover, fill your life up with opportunities for skin-rubbing sweetness. If you live with love ones, try giving more touch. If you live alone, surround yourself with friends who don’t mind doling out the tender embraces.

3. The power of loving selflessly. My teacher, Rod Stryker, encourages us to meditate on “love without ownership.” This is a beautiful practice for cultivating non-attachment around the people and things we already have in our lives. The yogis knew that we could love better, and more authentically, when we loved people without trying to own or change them. Practice daily acts of selfless love with no expectation for returns on investment. My fellow yogini, Rachel Meyer, used to make a love-filled cake every Saturday and give it to someone who may have had a hard week. Do you know of anyone who may need a spontaneous pound cake?

4. The power of loving remembrance. There is a powerful Tantric practice for increasing the feeling of love in your life. Begin by allowing yourself to close your eyes and settle into your breath. As you become more and more relaxed, allow yourself to remember a time in your life when you felt very deeply and utterly “in love.” It may have been through the experience of a lover’s embrace, receiving a drawing from your child, or a sunset in your backyard that called your heart to open. Remember this, and feel the remembrance of the love in the body. Then, leave the memory behind and pay close attention to the feeling sensations of the “being in” love. Watch how it grows and expands on its own as you experience the delight of objectless love.
How To Fall in Love, Yogi-Style (YJ)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

“I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you.... What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.

I began to ask each time: 'What's the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?' .... Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.

Next time, ask: What's the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it's personal. And the world won't end.

And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don't miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution." And at last you'll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.
― Audre Lorde

(Dear god, yes.)

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.

There are urban gurus everywhere you turn, if you just have eyes to see them.

This one lives on an alley between Larkin and Bush Sts. I turned around on the sidewalk the other day, mid-stride, to find this unexpected reminder.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.

Ethan Nichtern will be here in SF this Friday night. Woweeeee. Ethan founded The Interdependence Project in NYC and is one of the contemporary young mindfulness teachers I most admire.

Seriously. This is exciting. Go.

From the Shambhala Meditation Center website:

This evening with Ethan Nichtern combines readings from his new book of fiction and poetry, Your Emoticons Won’t Save You, with insight into Buddhist teachings. Ethan will discuss the connections between meditation and creativity, and how his contemplative practice informs his work as a writer as well as a Buddhist teacher. Ethan's practical and accessible style speaks to people of all ages and backgrounds. He joins us from New York City where he founded the Interdependence Project.

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

“With her Florentino Ariza learned what he had already experienced many times without realizing it: that one can be in love with several people at the same time, feel the same sorrow with each, and not betray any of them. Alone in the midst of the crowd on the pier, he said to himself in a flash of anger: 'My heart has more rooms than a whorehouse.”

― Gabriel García Márquez,
Love in the Time of Cholera

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Raw, idiom: 14a. in the natural, uncultivated, or unrefined state: nature in the raw.

Oh, baby! I'm so excited to invite you to join me and Solyoga Trips for Bhakti In Bloom, a weekend eco-yoga adventure at gorgeous Sierra Hot Springs, this April 20-22nd. We'll soak in ancient hot springs, rock out some killer vinyasa, and drink a little vino under the stars. Just say YES. Full retreat invitation here.

Bhakti In Bloom: Sierra Hot Springs Yoga Retreat
Escape the urban grind for a weekend of yoga, fresh air, and mountain blooms. Join bhakti flow yoga teacher Rachel Meyer and Solyoga Trips for a rustic, heart-filled, revitalizing springtime getaway melding music, vinyasa and philosophy amidst some of the most beautiful scenery in Northern California.

This is not your usual chi-chi yoga retreat. You can leave your fancy-pants at home. This one’s all about keeping it real, kids.

Gather with a crew of like-minded folks who just wanna get their bhakti on. We’ll sweat, we’ll chant, we’ll hike, we’ll soak our sore muscles in the ancient hot springs that have been revered as sacred for hundreds of years. Join Rachel for an unpretentious, rockin’, Bhakti Flow yoga-filled, back-to-nature weekend under the stars — the kind of retreat meant for real people who wanna get their yoga and their nature and their big sky on, all at once. Sierra Hot Springs is based at the cusp of a lush national forest and a beautiful alpine valley, blanketed with wildflowers. Leave your cell phone at home and get lost on the edge of 700 acres of enchanted forest. Trade your soul-sucking commute for a midnight soak in 24-hour plunge pools under star-studded skies, or rise with the sun for a daybreak hike before getting your asana on in the fresh air. Any way you look at it, here’s your chance to bloom.

We’ll do our part to keep things grounded and authentic and rich and real, offering four badass yoga practices rich with music and philosophy; delicious, lovingly-prepared meals; and even a chance to “book club” it up with a little vino, lots of irreverence, and Neal Pollack’s Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude — but also giving you plenty of time on your own to get lost, to slow down, to unplug, to breathe, and to really soak up the hiking and the sunshine and the hot springs in their full springtime glow.
Sign up already! Can't wait to kick it with you at Sierra Hot Springs. Is it April yet?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Raw, adjective: 8. brutally harsh or unfair: a raw deal

This is hands-down THE best response to the recent Anusara exodus that I've seen yet. Widely-respected mindfulness teacher Frank Jude Boccio hollers out the power of shadow and the reality that a yoga of "rainbows and sunshine and bliss" is only possible when balanced with an understanding of life's suffering.

Here are a few highlights from Boccio's blog:
In my experience, contemporary hatha-yoga in general, and Anusara Yoga in particular, are permeated by a willful denial and ignorance of the reality of duhkha. ....

And this is the shadow I have long seen in Anusara. Everyone has to aggressively "shine out with Shri" and it's all about bliss — poorly understood as a super "feeling good" when the Tantric understanding of bliss is so much more subtle than that, and ultimately not reliant on feeling good at all! The bliss of the tantrika transcends the polarities of pleasure and pain. The Rainbow Body of Peace needn't be pain free. By definition, if it needs to be pain free, it is bound by those conditions and is therefore NOT freedom!

The "culture" of Anusara (echoing the culture of contemporary mainstream hatha-yoga) is fearful of the "noble truth of duhkha." A kind of hiding one's head in the sand is encouraged with lots of feel-good, empowerment/motivational speaker kind of new agey pablum designed to soothe and pamper egos so often desperate for validation. ....

It is noble and ennobling to face duhkha, to awaken from avidya (ignore-ance) and denial. A greater ease with life, the "full catastrophe" arises when one no longer HAS to feel all "shri" and happy-faced! The radical acceptance and unconditional regard we seek cannot come from denying such a fundamental aspect of life as duhkha! This is not to say that that is all there is to life! What I am saying is that in turning away from duhkha, one turns away from the path leading out of duhkha. To deny duhkha IS duhkha!
Jesus, have I been waiting for somebody smart to say all that. Amen, buddy. Read it. Go.

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

Less than a week til Sunday's Open Your Heart Valentine's Day workshop at Glow!

Please note that the start time has been updated to 3pm. We're looking to have a full house, so do sign up ahead of time to make sure you get a space.

Can't wait to crack it open with you.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

Life is so ridiculously gorgeous, strange, heartbreaking, horrific, etc., that we are compelled to describe it to ourselves, but we can’t! We cannot do it! And so we make art.

— Miranda July

Friday, February 3, 2012

Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.

Oh, baby!

The February SEX issue is out, and that means my sly little ditty on speed-dating, yoga-style has officially hit the newsstands. Pick up your issue of Common Ground and flip on over to page 22 for the lowdown, or head here for the digital edition and click through to page 22 to read it right here, right now.

It's not every day that a writer's byline reads "Rachel Meyer, Secret Agent." Love it.

Here's a little teaser for y'all:

SF Speed Dating
One cold Friday night, I slipped down Polk St. toward a dimly-lit wine bar. My assignment: infiltrate a speed-dating event to research popular mating rituals for this Sex issue of Common Ground. I couldn’t believe my anxiety. Crazy, right? I'm a yoga teacher who spent years in musical theater before turning to the mat. Jumping around in front of strangers is what I do for a living. But I was apprehensive. My face turned bright red a solid hour before I was due at the bar.

I'd spent that hour trying on and taking off outfits like a jittery teenager — this shirt (no, too flashy), those jeans (no, not sexy enough), that scarf (ahh, just right). I pulled a red push-up bra out of the back of my underwear drawer that hadn't seen action since roughly 2001. I slapped on some dark eye makeup, grabbed a stylish clutch, and marched out the door. My heart raced, swimming in vulnerability. The pressure to sell myself that evening had grown unexpectedly stressful. Online dating has never been my style, and I've not really tackled the bar scene since college. And the whole charade wasn't even for real!

But, here in my early 30s, dating has a “checklist” feel. In theology circles, we’d call it teleological, from the Greek word telos, meaning “working toward an end point” — the kind of goal-driven pursuit that wedding magazines rely upon. Who among us hasn’t sat across from a potential suitor and sensed him analyzing her breeding prerequisites: solid bone structure, exemplary health, relative mental stability, good genes. There’s an undercurrent of calculation, a palpable drive for the happiness end point that cultural mythology names as “marriage with children.” The speed-dating arena forces the need to squeeze sex pheremones and first impressions into a five-minute capsule.
....continue reading the full article here, page 22.

Props to Rob and Carrie over at Common Ground for the inspired story idea. I could write a book.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.

Here's all the latest February news from your girl Rach, including some big teaching schedule changes.